The Data That Proves Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day

Yes, yes. It sounds like your mother nagging. But after crunching the data of thousands of users and their meals, the Eatery app discovered the truth: Skip breakfast and you’re going to eat worse food for the rest of the day, and more of it.

Don’t scoff: Breakfast really is important. If you replace it with a cup of coffee (or nothing at all), you’ll eat worse throughout the day than if you had taken the time to pour yourself a bowl of cereal, make some eggs, or even just grab an apple. The information comes from Massive Health’s Eatery iPhone app, which allows users to take pictures of their food, rate it based on perceived healthiness, and then rate other people’s photos. Massive Health extracted its data from hundreds of thousands of users.

Did you skip breakfast today? If you did, you are probably already thinking about lunch. You’re probably pretty hungry. And so you’re going to eat a lot. In fact, you’re going to eat 4.9% more food at lunch. The longer you wait, the more you’re going to eat. Do that every day and it starts to add up:

And what will that food be? Probably something not so good for you. Eatery found that, regardless of whether or not you eat breakfast, you eat worse and worse throughout the day. Lunch is worse than breakfast, and dinner is worse than lunch (and don’t even ask about snacking):

But breakfast is a good way to mitigate that. Eat a good breakfast and you start making better food decisions for the entire day—even late into the night.

The bottom line: People who eat breakfast are 12.3% healthier throughout the day than those who don’t, and people who don’t eat breakfast eat 6.8% more food throughout the day. Still not sold? Check out the full infographic below.

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  • Spencer Lane

    As humans we are inherently nocturnal eaters. its no surprise we eat more crap at night because it contains more calories. We are not supposed to eat breakfast because it switches of our fight or flight response which makes us really alert for the rest of the day. it also stops our bodies doing a lot of detoxing and fat burning if we eat breakfast. Think about it, would a cave man get up in the morning and pour himself a bowl of kellogs crunchy nut? hell no he would wake up hungry hunt all day long until he got himself some food or a kill. he would then bring that back to his family eat the lot and go to sleep. so i say skip breakfast, skip lunch and eat everything in one go at home you will be surprised how much fat you will loose.

  • Rebecca Loring

    All this tells you is that these particular people who use this particular app on this particular phone tend to eat crappier as the day goes on.  From this, you're claiming that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  Wow.  

    What about the people who don't have/use iPhones?  Like, say, MOST of us!  What about people who use iPhones and don't use this app, or lie about what they eat, or when they eat, or forget, or put in erroneous data...This is a ridiculous conclusion from a teeny-tiny sample.  I expect more from Fast Company.

  • Filipe Dias

    I agree with the previous comentators. Choosing something so relative as Healthiness is not the best choice to present data at all.
    What should have been shown is that skiping breakfast leads to more food intake throughout the day and that it affects what kind of food we pick for those meals.
    Quantities can be measured, proportions of chosen kinds of food can also be measured, but healthiness is not something that exists physically, it's more like an outcome of countless interrelated factors over the course of time.
    "Users who skip breakfast eat on average 6.8% more food..." that's a measurement.
    "Weekends are bad for our eating health" that's an opinion.

  • Luvlytomaco

    The article suggests an interesting point which I am convinced about tendency of quantity and quality of meals throughout the day. Good to share the research. 
    But I must say, it is a blind judgement of what really healthy is at first hand. Many prefer cereal for breakfast and consider it is healthy. Most of those are not even the healthiest of other lunch and dinner options if you look at the nutritional value. It is a carbohydrate+sugar bomb. It is as bad as sweet cupcakes for afternoon snack. 

  • Outattime

    As an old saying goes (or as far as I remember it)... Eat like a King at breakfast, a Prince at lunch, and a pauper at dinner....  

  • Ariel Schwartz

    I saw that! Unfortunately, the infographic comes from Massive Health and we can't change it.

  • Jessica Clark

    I know for sure that I perform better throughout the day when I fuel the tank. I am more efficient, more focused, and have more patience to manage the shifts and changes that come with running a small business.  When I eat breakfast, I know my attention stays with the projects and clients, which makes me more profitable. 

    People who don't eat breakfast aren't necessarily going to be swayed immediately from one end of the spectrum to the other by a pretty infographic. They may, however, give breakfast an opportunity as a way to keep their fire stoked when working into the wee hours, as many entrepreneurs generally do.
    Jessica Clark, http://roomtobreathe.biz

  • ladescentedeshommes

    Correlation does not prove causation. People who skip breakfast just might be less healthy people with less interest in doing the best things for their bodies overall. There's nothing to indicate that if they started eating breakfast they'd be healthier all day.

  • DrDon

    Does it matter that only iphone user generated these statistics.  I imagine taking everyone into the statistics would increase the unhealthiness aspects of the results.  Assuming of course that iphone users are more trendy and vain  :)